The Dark (And Scary) Web: Easy Things You Can Easily Do To Protect Your Digital Privacy Online (Part 2)
Published on November 14, 2022
Use Multiple E-Mail Addresses
Don’t use your one business email address for everything you do online. One way to help keep your online accounts secure that also helps you organize is to use different email addresses for different accounts and purposes. For example, use one email for all your banking activity. That way when you receive a really authentic-appearing scam email telling you your account is overdrawn or needs updating to any other email address, you’ll know it’s a fake. Set up another email address for websites and apps that you just want to try out. If you decide you want to keep it, then you can register your main email with that service. Use another or multiple email addresses for shopping or discounts. You can use a simple naming scheme to keep them organized (e.g. email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org.) Don’t forget to use strong, unique passwords for each email address! This is no problem when you are using a password manager that remembers the passwords for you.
Beware of Phishing and Scam Emails
The safest way to avoid phishing attacks is to train yourself to never click on links in your email or even text messages. Yes, even if it is from a trusted source, because the message may be fake and/or the source has been compromised. There are malicious links out there that will cause your system to automatically download viruses. Active antivirus software applications have tools to combat this, but don’t take the chance. If it is something you want to access, a few seconds to search the web for it is the safer way to go.
Use Smartphone to Pay
This one seems a little counterintuitive, but using Apple Pay or an Android app may be better than using the credit card itself. These payment apps generate a one-time use authentication code that is only good for that single transaction. So even if a hacker is able to get that code, it won’t do them any good. This also prevents the damage of theft from a credit card skimmer device. Some credit card providers may also let you pay with a code that is only good for one use. If your provider does, you’ll get a temporary card number to use for your online transaction and the charges go to your regular card account. Check out more information about virtual credit card numbers.
Use Multifactor Authentication for Sensitive Information
Multifactor authentication is not convenient. Multifactor authentication is a way to verify your identity with at least two different kinds of authentication. So when you login with your username and password, you may also be asked to provide a code sent to your text messages or email. If a hacker compromises your password, or, even worse, your password manager, that password becomes useless when you use multifactor authentication. While some apps and websites now require multifactor authentication, many others have it available and all you have to do is set it up and turn it on. Again, a little bit of time can save you a lot of hassle and I would say this is mandatory for very sensitive stored information or access.
Develop a Company Device Policy
Some companies have a formal or informal Bring-Your-Own-Device policy, which lets employees decide which hardware and/or software to use for work. If you have such a policy, or you have not provided a policy on employees using their own devices on your hardware or network, you need to look into how to secure your data stored on these devices. Mobile Device Management Software can help you or your IT administrator help manage employee devices and keep access secure. See this article for info on many Mobile Device Management systems available.
It’s really not hard to stay somewhat up to date on most security issues if you make the slightest effort. And, you should. Check out this article from Catherine Reach, Director of the North Carolina Bar Association’s Center for Practice Management.